Chris Dombrowski

Elegy with Fall’s Last Filaments

In the one world
you called twin
tired of being
misidentified how
swiftly you became
the spider mending
each day its
wind-rent web and not
the box-elder beetle you
had been grasshopper
still tearing
at the ties intricate void
bright bardo room
she I call her hangs
like a home light
beneath the eaves and you
would have left her on
All kinds of kindnesses
Luka just two
at noon yesterday
where’d the moon go
daddy The neighbors’
plums landing ripely
in our lawn Portrait
of you as webstrand
stretched between
the fences Sky-
deep lake appearing
halfway into my hike
as if it knew I were
thirsty—sat down
sketched the swale
in one broad stroke
fainter lines for where
the fog had hung
and almost asked
if you’d found
a formlessness yet
didn’t—tempting
to pick a few
forget-me-knots
marking the soundless
rill
Stir a little
shallows with your
alderleaf archipelagos
branch and cloud
reflections drawn
so crisply I mistake
one white trunk for
the other Stir
a little sawdust
from the just cut
deadfall firewood
tepeed now above
the tinder I light
before shucking
my shirt and jeans—
things little soul little
stray you used to make
fun
of these the last
words you quoted me
asking now where
will you stay?

—and plunging
through the cold lake
body strung with quick-
silver sunlight leaking down
to fill escaping orbs
of air gone as you are
probably no one
joins anyone here or after
you said but perhaps
the silence we’ve
always expected from
the dead isn’t
exactly silence
On surfacing
you want to have
something warm
to sit by tidy
fire tsk-tsking
this entire notion
but easing away
the gooseflesh
the body’s automatic
response
On the hike out
plucked from a steaming
pile of blackbear scat
a huckleberry still whole
skin unblemished
large pupil in the
vitreous of my palm
who’s watching
mote-midges blurring
through fruitless stems
unadorned lady-
bugs imago mayflies
the illustrious bound for webs
orbiting each other fall’s
last filaments
kept thinking
law versus spirit
what we’re told
versus what we’re
told—no one no
spring to rinse
the fruit only
a watering mouth


Chris Dombrowski